Apple's New Rapid Security Response Is a Fast Fix for Device Security

Available for the most recent versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS

Apple is giving iPhone, iPad, and Mac users the option to download security updates as soon as they're available, separate from regular OS updates.

Security flaws are all but inevitable with most modern technology—Apple devices are no exception—but the company has a plan to, if nothing else, keep your equipment up-to-date. With the introduction of Rapid Security Responses, your iPhone, iPad, and Mac won't have to wait for the next big iOS, iPadOS, or macOS update to batten down the hatches.

Finger on iPhone touchscreen in the dark

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Rapid Security Responses are a separate and compartmentalized mini-update for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS that will download and install the latest security patches and fixes. The approach allows users to apply important security fixes more quickly since the updates aren't held until the wider OS release is scheduled.

That, and it's turned on by default, so you'll have to manually turn the feature off—meaning it's more likely that the average user will benefit from more timely security updates automatically.

If automatic Rapid Security Responses are turned on, your device will download the necessary patches and whatnot as they become available, then you'll be prompted to begin the installation. If you're unsure if the latest one has been applied, check your OS version number and look for a letter at the end—for example, iOS 16.4.1 (a).

Rapid Security Response options in iOS 16.4.1

If, however, you decide to opt out of Rapid Security Responses, the security updates that would have been downloaded will instead be installed the next time you update your OS regularly.

Rapid Security Response downloads are available now for iOS 16.4.1, iPadOS 16.4.1, and macOS 13.3.1 and will continue with future versions. However, older operating systems will not be able to access Rapid Security Response updates, so if you want to use them, you'll have to update to one of the iterations mentioned above first.

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